Disclaimer: Not my characters, they belong to DC. Batman and related persons created by Bob Kane. I have no permission and make no money from this work.

Rating: Probably G, but I'll say PG to be safe.

Archive: Rea's site and Firebird's. Anyone just tell me and you can have it ^_^

Notes: This takes place before all the events in Robin #87 and the issues following that one. So, just forget those happened...thanks! There's a couple loose ends that aren't tied up and, maybe, in a sequel they will be, but I'm not certain yet. Also, YJ is without Empress and Lobo.

In a scene at the end, there are sentences in double stars (**). Those with the stars are writing voice overs.

Also, this is not beta'd so any errors are mine and mine alone.

Send FB to Ari82@aol.com if you want to. (please, please, please send FB!!!)

~~

THE MASK SLIPS
By: Susie

~~

"Consider this the slip that brought me to my knees." REM

~~

"DUCK!"

Although Robin heard the warning his body didn't react in time and a large pie smacked the Boy Wonder in the face. For a long moment the young man stood with the pie tin still covering eyes. Then with slow movements he removed said tin from said spot and said wiped pie out of said eyes. A soft chuckle made Tim turn around.

He looked at Nightwing attempting to hide his laughter. Finally, the slightly older man gave up and let lose a loud series of laughs. "You...should...see...your...face," he commented between gasps.

The Boy Wonder, on the other hand, lacked to see the humor in his current situation and, instead, stood with a frown (and pie) on his face. "I. Hate. You." Was all he said before turning around.

Dick caught his breath and moved next to the younger boy. "Oh, come on, bro. IT'S funny! Robin, the Boy Dessert! You've got to love it."

The younger man shook his head and turned back towards the enemy. The Pie-Man, a.k.a. Russell Marks, a stressed and semi-insane businessman who worked for The Gotham Pie Company, was busy reloading his rudimentary slingshot. He had created a large device used to hurl pies at unsuspecting victims, a.k.a. The Boy Wonder, and was busy trying to reek havoc in Gotham. All he succeeded in, though, was getting strange stares from both vigilantes and people on the street. He failed to remember that this was a city that faced a psychopathic clown, a killer croc, and a man doped up on venom.

A man with pies did little to scare them.

Because of his lack of fear and respect from people, Russell decided to let lose a fury of pies. Somehow, Tim figured by the act of a supernatural power, the only people to be hit were Bullock and himself. Needless to say, Nightwing was enjoying himself immensely.

The younger man grabbed a bat-a-rang and threw it at The Pie Man. His aim was true and the man dropped his slingshot due to the hit on his hand. Of course, not before another pie was thrown into the air, aimed directly at Robin. The Boy Wonder saw the pie and rolled out of its course right as it landed on the ground where he had been. He gave a small smile as turned back to Russell.

The Pie Man had since recovered and slammed a pie directly into Tim's face. In the background, the young man could hear Nightwing laughing again.

"Way to get him, Robin!" The laughing continued till he heard a 'plop' and The Boy Wonder could practically picture Dick lying on the ground due to laughing too hard. The thought made Tim want to bat-a-rang his partner in tights, but he held back the urge and faced Russell again.

"Sir, if you would just put down the pies no one has to get hurt." Robin prayed that didn't sound as lame as it did inside his head. Nightwing's loud sputtering, however, confirmed the fact that he sounded...well...stupid.

"Excuse me sir, step away from the pies! Keep your hands away from that custard! No, not the whipped cream! AHHH!" Tim rolled his eyes at Dick's mocking tone. He hadn't seen HIM do anything worth wild with this man; instead, all he had done was mock him and laugh at him.

Robin turned back to The Pie Man in time to duck another pie; this was getting ridiculous! He had faced the Two-Face, Scarecrow, Lady Shiva, and many more foes. He would NOT be beat by some disgruntled middle-aged pie-freak. Robin took a moment to track Russell's movements before he lunged for the man.

The two hit the pavement hard, but within a minute, The Pie Man was handcuffed and Tim was at his feet. Dick, off to the side, applauded the Boy Wonder.

"See, that wasn't too hard." Nightwing saw Tim grit his teeth. "What's the matter?"

Robin stared at Dick like he had put his spandex on backwards. Tim knew all his jet-black hair was slicked back by sticky pie with little white streaks still present. His cape and upper part of his costume were also covered with sticky pie filling. And his mask no longer was green, but rather a lovely marshmallow white. Nightwing, on the other hand, looked like he just stepped out of his apartment.

Tim growled and moved away from Russell and his old 'brother'. He had sunk out of his room during his weekend break for this?!?

Unbelievable.

"Hey, Boy Wonder, you're not sore with me are you?" With lightning fast reflexes, Tim hurled a large amount of the pie off his cape at Nightwing. Even with all his training, Dick was unable to duck the large chunk of custard and felt the moist crème smack him in his face.

"No, I'm not sore."

Tim dove off the side of the building as Nightwing removed the pie filling from his mask. Mentally Dick wondered how pissed Bruce would be if he had to go find another Robin. Somehow, the anger from his mentor seemed ALMOST worth it, but if got rid of Tim, who could he pick on?

Nightwing followed The Boy Wonder's escape off the building, all the while planning a wonderful revenge.

~~

Tim came to a rest on top of a large construction site; sitting on a beam. Twenty stories up Robin hung his feet over the edge and looked at the skyline. He felt Nightwing softly land next to him and smiled. Although, he was sticky, covered in pie, and tired, he felt somewhat satisfied knowing that Dick would be scraping pie out of his mask.

"So, you think this is funny?" Tim felt a soft punch to his shoulder and looked at Nightwing. Dick stood in a defensive stance with his hand in front of him; with two fingers, he beckoned Robin to spare with him.

Tim rolled his eyes, but rose to his feet. The two 'brothers' stood face to face on the beam awaiting the other to make a move. Robin faked left and made a dive for Nightwing, but Dick anticipated the move and flattened Tim to the beam. The slightly heavier young man sat atop the Boy Wonder.

"So, you give up?"

Tim squirmed a bit and then relaxed. "Yeah, yeah."

"Say it."

Robin let out a noise of surprise. "Never!"

Dick rose to his feet and brought Tim with him. Robin struggled against Nightwing, but he was too busy holding back laughter to really put up a fight. Within seconds, the older man held Tim halfway over the beam aimed at the ground a hundred or so feet below.

"Say it. I'll even help. Ready?" Dick cleared he throat. "You are the Master, Dick." He pointed to the young boy. "Now you go."

Robin looked at the ground below and then at Nightwing. With a defiant moment he crossed his arms and turned his head aside.

"Nope."

Dick bent forward and held his face inches from Tim's.

"Say it or I drop you."

The Current Boy Wonder scoffed at Nightwing. "Go ahead."

Dick cocked his head to the side and released Tim. The younger man fanned his arms outward as he plummeted towards the ground. Nightwing watched as Robin committed two forward flips and worked his way into a perfect nose-dive. Dick waited until Robin flew out of site and then sat back down on the beam.

For a long moment, he was alone, but then he saw the black cord fly up in front of him. Shortly behind the line followed the Boy Wonder, who nicely saluted, and then landed next to him.

"Show-off."

Tim shrugged his shoulders. "Whatever."

The two crime fighters fell into silence; that was promptly broken by a piercing alarm. The two sighed in unison and stood up. Nightwing stood on the edge ready to jump off, when a groan stopped him. He turned to look at his partner.

"What is it?"

"I've got to get back home before Dad has a coronary. He's put on major restrictions while I'm home this weekend; no nights later than nine, no having people over, no being gone longer than five hours regardless of the time of day. On top of that I have to help him fix the roof, clean out the gutters AND fix up the front lawn."

Robin sighed and Nightwing patted his shoulder in support. "I take it he's still a little upset over the Great Gotham Break-In."

Tim shook his head. "More than a little."

Dick turned back and looked out at the city. "You might want to hurry then."

"Why?"

"Cause it's already eleven."

Nightwing heard a mumble of something along the lines of 'oh crap' and then silence. He turned back around and saw the Boy Wonder was no where to be seen. He truly felt sorry for Tim; he had to keep SO many secrets from SO many people. At least when he was Robin his parent knew of his job and he didn't have to sneak out.

Dick sent Tim a sympathetic look he knew he'd never seen, but definitely needed; his dad was going to kill him.

~~

All the way home, Tim cursed under his breath for his lack of attention to the time. He KNEW he had to be back early, yet still lost track. He was hardly excited to see what chores his father would tack on to his already tedious list.

Robin carefully scaled the wall to his window and entered his darkened home. His plan was to change quickly, leap back outside, enter through the front door, and await the yelling. He had barely set his foot on the ground when a hand tighten over his wrist. Instincts immediately clicked and Robin twisted his hand out of the grasp and moved away from the attacker. He stood in a defensive stance; ready to attack or be attacked.

The lights suddenly flooded on and Tim saw his father standing by the switch. As soon as Jack saw who was in his son's room he let out a gasp of surprise.

"What are you doing here?"

Robin thanked Batman for his many lessons on controlling facial expressions because, if not for the hours spent on that subject, Tim would be looking like a deer in the headlights right about now.

"What are you doing here?" His father repeated, but the young man was still clueless on to how to answer. "Have you seen my son? Oh God, has something happened to him?"

Robin moved his arms to his side in a more relax stance. "No sir, I haven't seen Timothy."

Jack suddenly took a step closer to the crime fighter in his son's room. "How do you know his name?"

The only comprehensible words in the young man's head were 'Holy Crud! What have I done?' Before the vigilant could answer, he saw his father take two steps closer to himself.

"Who are you?"

The question made a little bead of sweat form on Robin's forehead. This was beginning to spiral out of control, but he couldn't just jump out the window and leave things so strange, but he sure couldn't stand here as his father's eyes bore into him.

So caught up in his thoughts, the young man didn't see his father's movement until it was too late. With a vicious swipe, Jack grabbed the corner of Robin's mask and pulled. The quick tearing of the gum used to hold it on echoed in the room, along with Jack's gasp of surprise.

"Tim?"

The young boy felt all color drain from his face. ~Oh my God...This has to be a nightmare. Come on, Tim, wake up, Wake Up, WAKE UP!~

But, it wasn't some morose dream; it was reality. Tim slowly moved his eyes to his father's face and noticed his hands were shaking slightly.

"Um..."

"What the HELL is all this?!?" The young man cringed as his father's voice rose at least fifty decibels.

Tim held his hands palm out towards his father. "It's not what it seems like, Dad."

"Then what exactly is it?" He asked dead-panned.

"Well, you see, it's like this. There was a costume party at Ives's and I went as Robin."

For a moment Tim thought that, perhaps, his father bought the strange story, but then he found he was wrong. "Christ, do I looked like an idiot to you? I'll ask you again, what the hell is going on here?"

The young man took a deep breath; he was all out of ideas and lies. "It's what it is, Dad."

Jack Drake looked his son over from head to toe. This was...it was just impossible. His son, Timothy Drake, was NOT Robin. Hell, Robin wasn't even a real person; he was a myth created by the police. Yet, right in front of him, stood his son dressed as the crime fighter.

It was unreal.

"No." At first, Tim wasn't certain he heard his father correctly. "NO!" But, then he heard Jack's voice yell out the statement.

"Dad?" The young boy gently held out his hand towards his father who seemed to grown more hysterical by the minute.

"No! My son is NOT a crime fighter."

"Dad, I'm...I'm sorry. I never meant..."

Jack meet his son's eyes. "Never meant to what? Exactly what didn't you mean, Timothy? Never meant to make us worry all those nights AND days you were missing. Never meant to lie to us at every turn. Never meant to risk your life every night and perhaps be killed without us knowing."

The young Robin shook his head at his father's statements. "Please, just listen for a second."

Jack watched his son take a step closer to him and then did the one thing he had never done in his life.

He slapped his son.

The older man watched as Tim put his hand to his cheek that was, no doubt, smarting a bit.

"No. I don't want to hear any more lies. I don't even know you, because you are NOT the son that your mother and I raised. You..." he gestured towards the Robin suit, "...are a complete stranger to me."

With that, the young boy watched his father turn and leave his room. The door slammed violently behind him and then Tim was left in silence. A sudden feeling a dizziness hit the dark-haired boy and he felt his knees collapse. Luckily, the bed was right behind him and he fell on the soft surface- bouncing slightly.

A quiet, but persistent clicking echoed in his ears and Timothy, without a second thought, hit the communication button.

"Robin?"

"Here."

"Good. Listen Batman needs you to join him at 65th and Thomas for some sort of surveillance." Oracle's soft laugh echoed in his ears. "Aren't you glad to be back in town?"

Robin smiled in spite of himself, but then, felt the black cloud of his current situation hit him. "Um...I can't go out right now. Tell Batman I'm sorry and I'll explain it to everyone later. Robin out."

Before Oracle had any chance to respond or question, Tim turned off his small radio. The young boy could hear the muffled voice of Dana and his father and knew exactly what they were talking about.

"Oh God..." Tim put his head in his hands and closed his eyes. ~What in the world just happened?~ Unfortunately, the young boy was finally able to answer that question.

His father found out he was Robin...

...and he was a dead man.

~~

Jack Drake had been mad in his life- that much was a given. He had gotten angry at employees, at his first wife, his new wife, and his son. As a matter of fact, he's son had given him a lot of trouble in the past and he had gotten VERY mad at the boy. The anger he felt then was nothing compared to how he felt now.

He was beyond mad- he was furious. Never, in all his life, had Jack ever felt so betrayed, so enraged, and so hurt. Timothy had been lying to him for Heaven knew how long- lying to sneak out, lying to sneak in, lying to run away, and lying to risk his life. Lying directly to his father's face so he could go gallivanting across the rooftops, not caring for one moment what Jack would feel if he found out his son had been killed.

Storming down the stairs, Jack didn't see Dana until he literally ran into her.

"Dear?" His wife looked at him with concern shinning in her eyes. She knew that Tim and Jack had differences, and sometimes, those would cause quite a fight between the two of them. Since she came to live with them (and even a bit before), she always tried to cool down one or both of them. She understood the boys often would say or do things in the heat of battle they would regret later. However, as she looked into her husband's eyes, she couldn't help but fear that the damage may have already been done.

"What happened, Jack?"

He knew whenever Dana got serious; he would have to get truthful. "It's Tim, he...he..." Jack stopped his stuttering and ran a hand over his face. ~Hell, I can't even say it!~ Taking a deep breath, he tried again.

"Timothy is...he's...every night he goes..."

Dana cupped her hands gently on Jack's cheeks and looked him directly in the eyes. "Just say it."

"Timothy is Robin."

Confusion crossed his wife's features and Jack could see her trying to make sense of what he had just said. Her hands fell from his face as her eyes widened. "Robin?"

The question was barely whispered, but he had heard it and mutely nodded his head.

"Oh, my..." The statement ran off into nothingness, and Jack noticed Dana begin to wobble on her feet. He slowly led the both of them into the living room and took a seat on the couch. For long moments, neither spoke, but rather held each other's hands. Dana slowly faced Jack again.

"For how long?"

A head shaking was her answer.

Silence fell again into the room.

Unbeknownst to either parent, just in the shadows outside the room, Timothy Drake stood silently listening with his heart beating wildly in his chest. He needed to know what his father and Dana would say without them knowing. He stood still, Batman training in full mode, and listened.

"What are we going to do?"

Jack sighed deeply. "I don't know. This is something I never thought would happen. What am I supposed to do?"

Dana didn't answer.

Tim's father stood and began to pace in front of his wife. "I never thought that Timothy would do something like this. I always assumed he sneaked out of his room to be with friends, you know, teenage stuff. All those times he left home, I truly believed what he told me. I thought...I just thought he was smart enough not to do something like this."

That remark made Tim wince in the shadows.

"Dana, I don't know what to do with him. I trusted him, I thought we were getting along so much better, we were like father and son again. And now...now...I'm faced with this. I don't even recognize him. I don't know what happened to the Timothy I use to know. The one that shared everything with me, the one that wanted to please his mother and I so much.

"I noticed he was moving away from me, I really did." Jack rubbed a hand over his face. "I just never imagined this was why. I didn't even think Robin was a real person and now I find out he is real and it's my son! God, Dana, what did I do to deserve this? How can I call him my son?"

And that question made Tim's heart break. He never thought, in all his wildest nightmares, that him being Robin would bring his father disrespect. He knew that if the time came and his dad found out, he would be angry, hurt, disappointed maybe, but ashamed? Throughout his entire career as Robin, Tim never thought of the job as something to be ashamed of. He was proud to do what he did and had hoped that his dad could maybe share that outlook.

Obviously, he had been wrong.

He turned his attention back to the conversation just inside of where he was standing.

"I can't even look him in the eyes anymore. He's not my son, Dana, I can tell you that." His father pointed absently up towards the stairs. "That person up there is not the one I raised and I never want to see him again if I can help it. He is a complete stranger to me."

Jack sat back to the couch and Dana, though horrified to hear what he husband had said about his son, knew the time to correct him was not now. Later, she would set him straight, but right now he needed to cool down and collect his thoughts.

Moving as a shadow, the teenager made his way back up to his room. He needed to get away- NOW. Already, tears begun to fall and he could feel sobs rising in his throat. Taking the steps three at a time, he threw open his bedroom down and, with movements acquired from hours upon hours of practice, he maneuvered out of his window to the ground. Once his feet hit- he ran.

He found his car, the Red Bird, where he knew it would be whenever he was away from school. Without a second thought, he jumped in and headed in the direction of the only place he felt he could be alone right now.

Happy Harbor.

~~

The long ride to the Harbor was a blur for Tim. The next thing he clearly remembered was finding himself standing next to the Young Justice conference table. Suddenly, he felt his knees grow weak as they had in his room and he fell into the chair he always occupied. With a define 'thump', Tim Drake's head fell against the table and he closed his eyes trying to calm his body and collect his thoughts.

He knew he had a list of things to do. He had to tell Batman what had happened. He also wanted to talk to Nightwing because his older 'brother' might be able to help him out some, and if not, he at least would help him deal with Batman. The young boy thought telling Oracle would be a good idea just so she was privy, he also knew she'd find out anyway and thought she might offer sympathy.

Figuring delaying only made things worse, the young teen headed over to the secure YJ communicator and began his debate over who to call first.

Bruce, he knew, would be the worst, Dick might be good for a laugh or at least he could help lighten the situation some, but Tim knew the best one to call right now would be Babs. So, he sent in the transmission and waited till he saw the Oracle icon pop on screen.

"Oracle here."

Tim took a deep breath. "Hi, it's Robin."

Instantly, the icon and mechanical voice were gone and the lovely red-haired beauty filled the monitor. She smiled on the Boy Wonder, but that quickly faded when she noticed the lack of mask. Although she had known for a long time now that he was Timothy Drake, he always kept up the little game and been secretive about his real identity. To see him without his mask signaled to Barbara that something was wrong.

"What's the matter?"

He took a deep breath and decided it was best just to say it. "My dad knows."

The young woman stared at the younger boy before her, quickly trying to figure out what he meant. Then she understood. "Oh." Was the first thing she said. "Does Batman know?" Was the second.

Tim negatively shook his head. "I called you first."

Barbara instantly felt pity for Tim, but didn't know what she could say to help him. 'Everything will be okay', didn't seem like the best statement. Besides, she knew Bruce as well as anyone and knew he would not be pleased. He would give Tim the 'cool' anger, which was worse than yelling. His disappointment would also be obvious and no one in the Batfamily wanted to disappoint The Boss.

"I have to go call him now." Barbara nodded in silent agreement. "Um...maybe I'll talk with you later if I'm still breathing." He gave her a small grin.

"Good luck."

Tim took a deep breath and nodded. "Oh, and Barbara." He now flashed her a larger smile. "It's Timothy Drake."

Babs was about to say that she already knew, but wanted the teen to think he had bested her. She smiled back at him. "Thank you for letting me know, Tim."

With that, she severed her connection and the young boy did the same. Taking a few deep breaths he dialed up the Batcomputer knowing if Bruce wasn't there, he would still get the call. A few seconds later, the Dark Knight's voice, but no picture, echoed throughout the YJHQ. Tim winced at his voice suddenly finding himself unable to speak.

"Robin, why did you contact me?"

Taking even more deep breaths, the young crime fighter did the exact same thing he did with Barbara. "My dad knows."

A very long moment of complete silence filled the HQ and Tim felt the sudden urge to run very, VERY, far away. Just as he thought of speaking again, Bruce's voice, this time deeper with both controlled anger and disappointment, came to life.

"How?"

If he thought contacting Batman was hard, letting him know that his dad found out because of his stupidity was a hundred times worse. Still, he filled in his mentor with the events that took place just hours before. He knew his voice had to sound like a little five year old waiting to receive a scolding, and, in reality, that's what he felt like. Once done, he waited for Bruce to say something.

"Does he know about us?"

This time he answered without hesitation. "No."

"Make sure he doesn't find out then." Bruce took a deep breath that Tim could scarcely make out. "I'll talk to you about this later. Batman out."

'Later', in Batman terms, meant he needed time to sort out his frustrations before he came up with a workout that would practically kill you. Tim felt his stomach drop to his knees- if his father didn't kill him, Bruce sure would. The thing that was worse then the impending workouts he would face, was the disappointment he heard in Bruce's voice. Although to anyone else, his mentor would have sounded as he always did, to Tim he could distantly make out the slightly downcast tone one got when they were let down.

He knew that Bruce felt Tim had let him down, and the young teen didn't feel he could argue with that because he had let Batman down. With the Robin mask came responsibility, and Tim had failed in that responsibility.

He wondered how long it would take him to rebuild Bruce's trust- if he ever did.

The young fighter was just about to claim his seat again when the communicator started beeping. He turned off the two-way monitor so no one could see him without his mask, though that meant he could see no one, too. Taking a second to get himself into 'Robin' mode, he answered the call.

"Robin here."

"What, in the name of all that is holy, were you thinking?"

The teen recognized the voice and switched the screen back on. Standing in front of him, hands on hip, face in scowl that Batman would envy, and his foot tapping impatiently was Dick in his Nightwing costume.

"Well..." He prompted.

Tim had thought Dick would be somewhat understanding, but judging the man right now, he didn't seem to be in a sympathetic mood.

"Well, I was thinking wouldn't it be fun if I could blow the secret I've risked my life protecting so that my dad would find out who I am, probably disown me, and then I could tell Bruce so he could kill me." Tim crossed his arms over his chest and took on the near identical stance of Nightwing.

The two vigilantes faced off for a silent minute neither moving or saying anything. Finally, the younger of the two sighed and dropped his arms and bent his head down.

"I never meant for any of this to happen- it just did. I did something really stupid that I have been trained not to do my whole career. I never meant to endanger your secrets or blow my cover." Dick felt his anger falter as he listened to and watched Tim in front of him. "I'm a complete idiot for being so dense and," the young boy looked up, "I'm so sorry."

Suddenly, the dam broke.

Tears filled Tim's eyes as he looked on at the person he considered a big brother. He never meant to ruin things- he never meant to be so foolish.

He never meant for any of this to happen.

His eyes glistened with tears, but he refused to let them fall in front of Nightwing. "I am so sorry." He quickly cut the connection without so much of a good-bye- embarrassed to be so emotional in front of Dick. Once the screen went blank, Tim's knees gave out for the third time, only now he didn't have anything to fall into, and instead, sank to the ground. Bringing his hands to his face, the young teen sobbed into his hands.

Everything had gone wrong.

~~

Wondergirl didn't know why Superboy had wanted to have a small get-together at the YJHQ, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to come. The second he had called her, she told her mother they were having a meeting and literally flew out her door. Now, she was waiting just before the entrance for Superboy and whomever else was coming. She had started to pace when a blur stirred up leaves surrounding her. She felt the wind stop and found herself looking into the tasseled hair of one speedster. She opened her mouth to greet him, when she heard the moaning.

Looking into Impulse's arms, she saw one very green looking ex-Arrowette. Cassie smiled at her friend. "Hey, how was the trip?"

Her answer came in the form of another moan.

Bart quickly set Cissie on the ground and even quicker changed out of the bright Impulse outfit into a less obvious one. He faced the two girls with a goofy grin on his face.

"So, when's the party?"

Cassie opened her mouth to reply when a shadow fell over her. "The party," Superboy landed at their feet, "is right now!" He smiled at Wondergirl. "I figured we deserve a day off, and where better to spend it then at our own private abode." No one decided to mention to SB that they hadn't been working at all in the last week or so.

Cissie finally had regained her color and calmed her stomach enough to speak. "Where's Secret and Robin?"

Eyes moved between the team and finally settled on Kon. "Secret's off with Reddy, she said she might be by later." The Kid began to move in the direction of the Cave.

"And Robin?" Cassie questioned.

"Well, he...um...I couldn't reach him." Suddenly, SB found his path blocked by the figure of Wondergirl.

"Couldn't reach him or didn't try?"

Superboy instantly looked a bit uncomfortable and mumbled into his gloved hand. "Ididnttrytoreachhim."

"What was that?"

"I said, I didn't try to reach him."

Cassie let off a noise between a sigh and a scoff. "Why did you do that? He's one of us. Don't you think he'll be hurt when he find out."

Kon released a cunning smile. "IF he finds out you mean. Come on, it's not like he would expect us to know where to find him anyway." He looked over the group. "Come on let's have some fun!"

When no one moved, SB dropped his arms dramatically. "Fine, fine! How about if I call him when we get inside?"

Impulse, in a swirl of wind, came back holding a monstrous amount of party decorations and chips with soda. "So, when do we party?"

Cissie smiled at the Speedster and ruffled his hair. "We have to get inside first." Instantly, the young girl regretted her words as she found herself picked up and inside the Cave.

Seconds later, after Cissie had found her stomach again, Kon and Cassie meet them inside.

~~

The first thing Cassie noticed was the soft sound, almost like...crying? She shared a look with Cissie, who almost noticed it, and together they headed off into the conference room. The boys, shrugged their shoulders, and followed the girls.

Upon entering the conference room, the teammates found something they never thought they would see. Huddle on the ground by their table was a young looking boy who was softly crying. He seemed completely oblivious to his watchers, lost in some kind of self-depression. Wondergirl silently hovered over to him while the others watched back a bit.

"Um...hello?"

Tim's head jerked up and he was on his feet in a second. He stood on the balls of his feet ready to attack whatever entered. Even through the tears that still ran down his cheeks, the young boy was able to sort out who was in front of him. Embarassed, he quickly adverted his eyes.

Though, without his mask or outfit, Wondergirl still recognized the young teen in front of her. "Robin." Not a question, but an observation.

Taking a deep breath, Tim looked up at Wondergirl attempting to put himself into 'Robin-leader-mode.' He knew he was failing when Cassie looked at him with wide eyes filled with support, concern, and worse of all, a bit of fear. She slowly took a step forward and lowered her voice so only the young teen heard.

"What's wrong?"

Tim looked at the young girl and shook his head.

The rest of the YJ members moved away from their spots and came next to Cassie. Kon cocked his head to the side.

"Rob? Where's the mask?"

Again, Tim just shook his head. He couldn't talk because first off, he didn't know what he would say and second, he didn't trust his voice.

Impulse looked between his teammates and their leader when he noticed something. "Were you crying?"

Of course, the other fighters had noticed this, but had the tact not to say anything, Bart, however didn't. Everyone focused their vision on their leader as his face suddenly fell.

Tim's eyes darted between his teammates and he instantly felt claustrophobic. He opened his mouth trying to find the words to say anything, but ended up looking like a fish out of water. ~Think, Tim, THINK!~

"I...um...it's...nothing." The last word was said in the best imitation of a Batman growl he could muster.

Cassie, however, was not daunted. "What's the matter, Robin?"

Timothy Drake felt his breaths shortening and hands start to tremble. Wondergirl noticed this and took a step forward with her hand outstretched. "Robin?"

The young boy felt his hand grasped by Cassie and that contact broke the reserves he had tried to build. "It's awful. Everything's wrong."

Wondergirl looked the leader in his face. "Tell me."

For the moment, Tim forgot that there was anyone else in the room. All he knew is that there was someone here who would listen and not judge him. "My dad found out about Robin."

Impulse turned to Kon and whispered, "I thought Batman already knew that he was Robin." SB quickly elbowed the speedster getting him to shut up.

Tim didn't even notice this whole exchange. "He knows, Cassie. Batman knows he knows, and I'm dead. Dead, dead, dead." The young Robin began to shake his head while chanting.

Wondergirl did the only thing that she could think of. Moving gently, she pulled her leader into a hug. Tim fell against her shoulder and relishing the embrace. The other teens stared on in a stunned silence at their one-time fearless leader who now looked like a scared, lost child.

Finally, Tim's awareness caught up with him and he realized what he was doing. He pushed away from Cassie and took a few steps to create distance between him and everyone else. The young Robin eyes darted around the others in the HQ as his face slowly became redder.

Finally, the young boy looked down at the ground in front of him and sighed, "I'm sorry, it's just that...it's been quiet a...a...shock." Cassie frown at the change in Robin's demeanor. Already she could see him bottle up what little emotion he just recently released.

Now, it was Kon's turn to lose tact.

"So, Rob, if your dad knows, you could tell us right?"

Cissie glared sharply at SB and then looked desperately at Cassie hoping her friend could think of something to shut Kon up.

No one, however, needed to say anything because Tim took it completely upon himself.

Minutes before, he was ready to break down sobbing, and as a matter of fact, did. He had even felt sick to his stomach because of the guilty sorrow he felt. Robin felt sorry for himself and lost in the giant world. At the time, the only thing he could do was cry.

Now, though, that feeling of depression was replaced by anger. Not at his dad, or Bruce, or Dick, but at himself. He had gone through berating himself for being stupid, but not he was just furious with himself. Kon's question had just pushed him over the provable edge.

"You want to know who I am? Is that all that matters to you; knowing who I am? Finding out the mysterious identity of the kid behind the Robin mask?" Timothy let the question hang open in the air. By now, he had taken steps closer to Kon and the Boy of Steel was slowly backing away. Without the mask, the dangerous glint in Robin's eyes was quite apparent.

"I've got news for you, Kon. I don't know who I am anymore." Tim stood inches in front of SB. "My father says he doesn't know me anymore. He doesn't see the son he raised in me and I have to agree with him." He turned away from Kon and began pacing. "I've spent so much time as Robin that I lost track of where he ended. The only thing that helped me keep things straight was that my two lives were separated most of the time.

"You guys knew Robin, my dad knew the kid outside of the outfit, but now...now those two have collided. Now, I don't know who I am. If my dad sees me as Robin ,what happened to my other half?" Tim, at this point, had stopped pacing and turned back to Kon one more time.

"So, to answer your question, no I can't tell you who I am because I don't know. I just don't KNOW!"

With that, their leader turned and ran full tilt away from the startled teens.

For a small eternity, no one said anything, until Impulse broke the silence. "We should go find him." It was the most adult statement anyone had ever heard Bart say and they were all inclined to agree.

Cissie and Bart took off in the direction that Tim had gone while Cassie floated next to Kon. She looked at with a sad, blank expression on her face. SB looked at his hands.

"I never thought he would freak like that. I didn't mean to have that happen."

Wondergirl sighed. "You own him an apology." She watched him nod. "Let's go."

The two followed the same trail of their previous teammates.

~~

Tim made his way into the small first aid room that YJHQ held. He found a seat atop of the metal operating beds and sat cross-legged with his head in his hands. He knew his teammates would only be a few seconds behind him and tried to collect his thoughts in that short time. He knew they all had to think he was completely cracked by now. First, they found him out of uniform, then crying, and next he flipped out on Kon practically having a nervous breakdown.

Just as he thought, Cissie and Bart slowly entered the room and looked cautiously at him. For his part, Tim avoided their eyes and stared straight down at his hands. A few more seconds later, Cassie and Kon entered.

SB moved away from the group and got closer to Robin. "I just wanted to say that...I...um...I'm sorry for what I did."

Tim sighed deeply and held up his hand. "It's okay, Kon, I was out of line. I shouldn't have snapped at you- it was unbecoming of me."

No one knew anything to say at that point. The quiet, however, gave Robin time to considered this next action. It was probably not the thing to do, but it was something he had to do.

"Listen, guys, there's something I have to tell you, but it can't leave this room."

Brain quickly working, Cassie was the first to pick up on what their leader was about to do. Acting on impulse, she said the first thing that came to mind: "NO!"

All eyes jerked to her direction, but she paid them no heed and, instead, looked directly at Robin. "Don't do it, Robin. I, as much as anyone, am curious as to who is behind the mask, but not right now. You need to sort things out before you do something this rash. Please think it through and do it another time if you still want to."

Tim looked at Cassie and suddenly felt very proud. She was turning into quite the heroine both in skill and compassion. He gave her a soft smile and slowly nodded his head. He knew what she said was what he should do, all ready things were so confusing and messed up that just randomly giving out his secret would compile things even more.

With a graceful movement, Tim uncurled his legs and hopped to the ground. He looked at each member separately and released, yet another, sigh. "I have to go."

Cissie moved away from Bart and closer to Tim. "Why don't you stay here for a while- forget your troubles."

Robin gave them a sad smile. "I don't think I would be able to forget my troubles. Besides I have a lot of patching up to do."

Tim began to walk away when he heard his name called by Kon and turned back.

"You know, if you ever need someplace to hang we'll be here." Tim nodded in response and made his way to the Redbird.

The rest of the team went off to have their party that suddenly seemed to deflate.

The remainder of the night was spent mainly in silence with their own thoughts occupied on their leader. (Expect for Impulse who's thoughts ranged from elephants to pink boxers).

~~

No sooner had Tim stepped into the Redbird then his communicator start buzzing madly. He took a few calming breaths to get ready whomever was on the other line. He could lose his cool with YJ, but he didn't want to lose it again with someone else that would not be as easy to apologize to. Finally ready, he answered.

"Robin here."

"Good, Tim, listen there's a small problem." Barbara's voice filled his car and he felt instant relief that it wasn't Bruce, or worse, Batman.

"What's the trouble?" Tim silently hoped that he would not be needed to go out as Robin right now, because even though he would work as if nothing had been happening, he would feel better spending the evening in deep thought about his future and what he was going to do.

Babs' voice brought him out of his thoughts. "It's your father. I just happen to run across a call he was making to the police. Apparently, he's filing you as a missing person." She heard Tim's groan and was quick to comfort him a bit. "There's nothing to worry about because I intercepted the call and made him believe the police were on it." Barbara's smile carried over in her voice. "Once again, Oracle's super genius saves the day."

At this, Tim left off a small chuckle. "Thanks, I really owe you one. I guess I have to go home now then." The question went unanswered. "I'll talk to you later, I guess."

"Bye, Current Boy Wonder, and have faith, things will work out."

Tim didn't have the heart to laugh at Barbara's optimism, so he said his goodbye and disconnected. Getting into gear, he set off for home with a heavy heart.

~~

Tim found himself staring at the door to his house, completely at a loss about what to do next. He knew he had to face his dad, but hadn't any idea what he could say to him. Realizing standing in the dark was getting him no where; the young teen entered his house.

The first thing he noticed was the lack of light, the next, was the lack of sound. Slowly, he trudged his way further inside and finally came across his dad. Jack Drake sat in the small den staring blankly at the petite fire he'd built. Tim took cautious steps inside and moved beside his dad.

He opened his mouth to speak, but Jack cut him off. "Nice of you to come home. What, were there no crimes to stop? No Batman to follow blindly around?"

Tim closed his eyes, but remained silent. He father, however, did not.

"Have nothing to say for yourself I take it? No words of explanation, no apologies- nothing." Again, his son remained silent and still. "After all you've put this family -me- through you have nothing to say? After how much you've destroyed this..."

Tim finally had enough. He thought he would be able to control himself and listen to his father.

He had been wrong.

"I destroyed this family, dad? I haven't destroyed it any worse than you did. We never even use to be a family when mom was alive. You two would always leave off for some party, in some country, leaving me here by myself. I never saw you two except when there was a party at *our* house and even then you were too busy with guests to even see me."

The young boy moved in front of the fireplace so his father could see him, but he kept his eye contact averted. "When you came back and decided to be a father again, I had already become Robin. I become him because there was nothing else I could do. I had no one, dad. By some twist of fate, mom died and you came home to be my father again. I never thought that that would happen. I thought you and mom would always be off seeing the world.

"The reason I became Robin was because I needed something- I needed someone because I didn't have parents. When you came back and got better and wanted to be my dad again I couldn't give up Robin because I was afraid. I was, at first, afraid that you would fall back into the routine and I would have lost you again. When I found out that you were being truthful and you were going to stay, Robin was as much of me as Tim Drake."

The young teen stopped to face his father. "Robin became apart of me and I couldn't give that up. Without him, I would have been lost. Not only that, but I'm good at what I do. I make a difference out there and I love it. I love knowing that I help people, that I am helping to save a city." Tim looked his dad in the eyes. "I never thought you would like this if you found out, but I also thought that perhaps you could understand."

Jack Drake looked up to his son's pleading eyes. "I'm glad you felt it an appropriate time to tell me that I fail in raising you. I'm happy to know that you felt so little of your mother and I all those years."

"Dad, that's not what I meant!"

"But, it's the truth. We obviously failed you as parents and you found it necessary to go behind our backs. You're right, I don't understand. I don't understand how you can be so selfish that you feel you can put your life in danger without me knowing. How can you be just *so* self-righteous?"

"It's not like that! I don't do it to spite you, I do it because I love it and I make a difference."

Tim's father leveled his gaze on his son. "A difference? Son, you've gone out probably every night for an amazing amount of time and what difference have you seen? Are you still needed? Then I would have to say your 'difference' is nothing."

Tim took a step back like his father had slapped him again. He felt his stomach fall to his knees and his heart stop beating. He never thought his father would embrace Robin with open arms, and perhaps, he was lying when he thought he would understand, but never did he think he dad would cut him down to his face. He couldn't even begin to place into words the hurt he felt at that moment. The idea the his father thought he wasn't making a difference left him strangely numb.

"...never again, but I know that won't happen because you, obviously, do what you want." Tim came back to reality at his father's voice. "This summer I think it would be a good idea if you spent it with your grandmother." The young teen got the gist of what he had missed- his father was practically disowning him. "Through all this, Tim, I want you to understand that I have lost what little trust I had in you and I'm not certain if it will ever be given back."

Jack regarded his son with a cool expression. "I already told you that I thought you were a stranger to me, and that still stands. I don't understand what happened and probably never will."

Tim felt himself get smaller in his father's eyes and knew he had to leave. Without a word, he turned on heel and made his way to his room. Tomorrow, he left for Brentwood and he had something he needed to do.

~~

Dana tried not to listen to the conversation between her husband and his son, but it was terribly hard. She did succeed in not bargaining in though, and to her, that was something. Finally, she heard Tim leave the room and felt it was time to set her husband straight.

Shoulders back and head high, she entered the room ready to give Jack Drake a piece of her mind.

~~

Upstairs, Tim took out a piece of paper and a pen.

~~

"You, Jack Drake, are a stubborn old fool."

**Dad. I'm sorry.**

"Your son is a miraculous young man. He is brave, strong, smart, beautiful..."

**I'm sorry that you can't understand what being Robin means to me. It's my everything; it's who I am.**

"...everything that, if I had a son of my own, I would want. He is the most amazing human I have ever known and that, I gathered, even before I knew about Robin."

**To me, being Robin, has been my savior. Not only from loneliness, but from myself. I've found that I am somebody, not just another face in the crowd.**

"With now knowing that he is Robin, I am in awe. He has so much on his plate, yet he does everything we ask, his friends ask, and, I'm assuming, Batman asks. Imagine that responsibility."

**I've found out that, even if you don't see it, I make a difference. I am Robin and Robin helps people, Robin is a hero. He is somebody that people actually strive to be.**

"Imagine all that he has done, seen and been through. Imagine, if you even can, the things he has been forced to face and things that he has overcome. This city is not an easy place to live in, but he has not only lived here, but he has fought here."

**Robin is not a person, but a symbol. A symbol of hope, strength, and of courage. I am proud to be the carrier of that symbol.**

"I only wished that you could see what your son has done and that you could be proud of him. I am so honored to be considered a friend, and if I'm truly lucky, a step-mother, to him that I am bursting on the inside."

**I hope that, in time, you could understand what Robin means to me and, perhaps, accept the fact that he is a part of who I am**.

"You, as I've said before and will say thirty thousand more times, are a stubborn, stupid old fool if you can't be proud of Tim."

**I only wish that maybe one day you might even be happy with who I am and...**

"If you let that boy leave with the idea that you don't understand or sympathize with him, then you are an idiot."

**...maybe be proud of me because, no matter what you think, I am proud to call you my father.**

"Think about what you'll lose if you don't repair the damage that has been done."

**I am sorry for everything that I have done to hurt you and hope you can forgive me someday.**

"I love you with all my heart, and always will, but you're really going to be pushing it if you don't do something about your son."

**I love you.**

"Go and think about it, and I hope you come to the logical decision based on your heart and not your dense brain."

**Your Son Always- Timothy.**

~~

Tim turned off his small desk light and stared blankly at the ceiling in his room knowing sleep would never come.

Jack sat downstairs staring into the fire trying to make sense of what this day had given him.

Dana slept upstairs, alone, dreaming about a time when the family would be a family again.

~~

All night, Jack had sat, thought, and wondered what he should say to his son, yet he found that he couldn't face him.

It was just impossible.

He watched as the boy packed up his things and loaded them into the cab. He watched as Tim looked back at the house with a gaze of longing. And he watched as the cab drove away.

With a sigh, Jack moved into the kitchen and saw a neatly folded note with Tim's crisp handwriting on it. He opened it and read.

The words and Dana's words, came to him full tilt. ~What had he done?~

Later, he found his wife and gently cried on her shoulder over what he might have lost.

~~

Tim entered his dorm room, ignoring Wesley, and crashed onto his bed. He hoped his father would have talked to him before he left, even just a simply good-bye would have been welcomed, but the young boy got nothing.

He supposed he shouldn't be surprised. As a matter of fact, he wondered if things with his dad would ever be the same again. Sadly, he figured they wouldn't.

"Tough time at home?" His roommate asked with a sneer, not realizing how right he was.

The dark-haired boy just rolled over and closed his eyes. Going out as Robin wasn't going to happen tonight.

~~

The gentle shaking brought Tim to consciousness and he suddenly had the biggest urge to kill his roommate. He opened his eyes and saw Alfred's old, but kind, face looking down at him.

"Terribly sorry to awake you, young sir, but you have a visitor."

~Wonderful. So, is it Bruce to yell at me, Dick to yell, or maybe my dad~ Tim groaned and sat up.

"Who is it?"

The butler shrugged his shoulders and Tim raised an eyebrow at him. Sighing, he rose, grabbed his robe, and began to pad out of his room while Alfred (as a force of habit) began to straighten his bed.

The young boy turned a corner and saw Dana as she rushed at him. She brought him into a large hug and she spoke into his ear.

"I'm so proud of you." Tears came to his eyes, even as Tim tried to hold them back.

Dana moved away from the lad and Tim could see his father standing a few feet away. "Hello, son."

With that, the young boy ran at his father. He didn't care if any of the guys were around all that mattered was his father had called him 'son'. One word that suddenly meant the world to him. Jack accepted his son into a hug.

"I'm sorry."

Tim shook his head. "I'm sorry, dad. I should have told you."

His father smoothed a hand over his unruly bed hair. "It's okay. Let's go someplace to talk."

And they did so.

They talked about Janet Drake and her death, they talked about Batman and his need for a Robin, they talked about Robin, they talked about cases and past events. Tim found himself opening up with his father more than he ever had. He told him his fear at failing Batman. He told his dad of his problems with friends and family that the Robin suit had brought about. He talked about the Spoiler and Young Justice.

Most of all, though, he opened up and let his father into his life- the life that his dad knew nothing about. For the entire day, father and son talked and found themselves closer.

Jack finally understood his son and even said he'd try to accept the cape and all. That was more than Tim ever hoped for.

By nightfall, Jack and Dana had to leave, but they left knowing that their family was close to being completely healed.

"I'll call you this weekend, son."

His son nodded and walked them towards their car. "Okay." Suddenly, Tim found himself pulled into a hug by his father as Dana go into the car.

"Things will be all right again."

The young boy looked up to his dad. "I know." He smiled.

Tim watched as the car pulled away and waved. Once it was out of view he turned back to his room, but met Alfred in the hallway. The older man gave a small cough and held up a very recognizable green mask.

Tim smiled.

That night- Robin flew.

THE END!

Thanks for reading and reviews would be nice!! BTW- You're probably wondering...hey there's a couple loose ends here. And, if you are thinking that, you would be right- there are. I'm thinking about doing a sequel which deals with more with the Robin side of this situation instead of the Tim Drake, however, no promises.